When I was little, my family used to taunt me by calling me “accelerated reeeeader, accelerated reeeeaaader.” I didn’t really know what that meant, because I was homeschooled. Now I’m a public school teacher and turns out, Accelerated Reader is a pretty sweet program… it’s invaluable for evaluating my students’ comprehension and it’s goal setting features are incredible, in my opinion. Anyway, all that aside, this is what I read in July, August, and September.
Beautiful Ruins – Jess Walter | Some content in books (language, etc) is alright with me as long as I feel like the overall outcome is redeeming and uplifting. I was afraid that Beautiful Ruins was going to fall into the “why did I read this??” category, but then Jess Walters pulled through with a magnificent ending. (I’m a total sucker for really good endings… if the book is fantastic all the way through but the ending lacks I’m really disappointed. Flora & Ulysses had the best ending of any book I’ve read this year, if you’re wondering.) Anyway, the montage at the end of this one was, in my opinion, really beautiful.
The Penderwicks at Point Mouette – Jeanne Birdsall | I love the Penderwicks. Jeanne Birdsall does such a fantastic job fleshing out the four sisters personalities that you really feel like you know them. The first book in the series is the best, but I’ve read all three, even though they get a bit more predictable as they go on. I’ll absolutely read these to our kids one day. Modern classics, for sure. Start with the first one if you haven’t read it.
Sure Signs of Crazy – Karen Harrington | I like some really specific genres, like “escaping fundamentalism memoirs,” “nonfiction about how to help make kids smart and/or good citizens,” and “young adult lit about kids who have disorders or serious family issues and are having issues at school because of them.”
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn | Really well written, but way too much for me. It’s a husband-wife-whodunnit type book. I was up until midnight because I had to finish it and David was up until midnight because I couldn’t finish it alone. If you aren’t bothered by twisted pyscho thrillers you’ll love it. If you’re a pansy like me STAY AWAY.
Wild – Cheryl Strayed | This one made me want to hike & hike & hike.
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library – Chris Grabenstein | Finished this one on a plane. Quick read and fun premise… if you’re really in to children’s lit you’ll like it, but if not, I’d save your foray into the genre for some really fantastic titles, which this one wasn’t. I really enjoyed it, though.
Kind of a Funny Story – Ned Vizzini | This one made me feel like I understood a tiny bit more about people who struggle with mental illness. It felt really real, which makes sense because apparently it’s at least some what autobiographical.
Out of My Mind – Sharon Draper | This book (about a middle schooler with cerebral palsy) got me big time. It was sad and happy and hard and made me feel SO MANY FEELINGS.
One and Only – Emily Griffin | This one was super disappointing to me. It was billed to me as “chick lit that’s not chick lit”… and it was chick lit. Really predictable ending. Etc.
Hope is a Ferris Wheel – Robin Herrera | I bought this one for my classroom library and screened it first… it won’t be going in there because there were a couple of things that I didn’t think were appropriate for middle grades, but the story was great. I’d definitely recommend it for middle schoolers.
A Long Way Down – Nick Hornby | Depressing. British. Underwhelming.
The Divorce Papers – Susan Rieger | Back to the weird genre things, I love books that are told through alternate means, like the emails in Where’d You Go, Bernadette?. This one is told entirely through legal documents. I loved the format, but due to it at the end I kind of felt like it took 400 pages of book to communicate 200 pages worth of story.
The Husband’s Secret – Liane Moriarty | Loved this one. Such a good novel–suspenseful, unpredictable, sad, funny. I liked What Alice Forgot, too, and I’m trying to get her new one, Big Little Lies on ILL.
The Vacationers – Emma Straub | I liked the ending, but it wasn’t worth the beginning & middle.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han | Man, I enjoyed this one. It was highly recommended, so I tried it out even though it sounded a little fluffy. People might read it because they think it’s a YA romance, but it wasn’t really about boys–it was about the relationship between the three sisters, which, as one of three girls (and two boys!), I’m a total sucker for.
Anyone read any of these? What are you reading that I should be reading?
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